While the world’s attention has been on ISIL battling to take the Syrian town of Kobani, Iraqi officials in the country’s western Anbar province say they are desperate for help.
The region’s provincial council says the area could soon fall to extremists.
It has sent a request to the Iraqi government asking for US ground troops to help them, according to an Iraqi TV channel.
If ISIL succeed in taking Anbar it would give them control of a stretch of territory across much of Syria and Iraq. The fear is, that would allow them to establish a supply line and potentially launch attacks on Baghdad.
Political analyst, Ayad al Malaah, says: “ISIL expansion toward Baghdad poses a threat for the security of the capital. The Iraqi security forces usually declare that Baghdad is too difficult for IS to enter, but today everything is possible. The war strategy is changeable if we consider that the Iraqi security forces and the international coalition are each working on one fixed strategy.”
Anbar is home to Iraq’s second-largest dam, the Haditha dam and a strategically important province.
Although the US military has carried out several air strikes, militants seem undeterred and are continuing their advance.